Poly people out there, do you have your legal ducks in a row?
Most of these things are legal documents that anyone, poly or not, should have in order. Thing is, because polyamorous situations can muddy legal waters, it’s important to have your wishes clear. Not all of the documents will apply to all poly situations, but many are important.
- Who should be contacted in case of an emergency? Is this written down anywhere? (I actually have a “drop dead” file that I made when I went in for surgery once. Everything that people will need to take care of stuff if I drop dead is in that file — legal and routine).
- Who do you want to allow to visit you in the hospital? You can have this information on file with your primary care physician as well as your local hospital.
- Do you have a living will?
- Do you want anyone to have medical power of attorney? If so, do you have the paperwork on file for this?
- What about a “real” will? Even if you don’t own significant property, you’ve seen fights over who gets Grandma’s pearls, or a silver teapot. Don’t do this to the people you love.
- If you do own significant property where probate would disrupt people’s lives, you might want to consider a living trust.
- If you have kids, do you have guardianship documents? Poly situations can get sticky. You’re going to want child care authorizations for anyone who you want looking after your child on a regular basis. You want to make sure your will clearly establishes your guardianship wishes if something happens while the kids are still young (You really really don’t want to leave this to the whims of the courts!) If you have any children with whom you have no legal relationship but to whom you have assumed a responsibility, I strongly suggest either a life insurance policy with that child as a beneficiary (they’re not that expensive) or a joint bank account that you contribute to regularly with the child having rights of survivorship.
This is not a comprehensive list, but is meant to get you to thinking: Are there situations as a poly person that might be outside the box where you will have to deal with a bureaucracy? If so, there are usually ways to make sure that you get what you want for you and your loves, but you do need to make a special effort to make sure any necessary paperwork is on file.
Remember, polyamory is about love. Make sure you’re thinking about the people you love here.